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CUA51020 - Diploma of Screen and Media: Online Screenwriting

A NYFA AU student with a goatee concentrates as his instructor explains a technique for the Canon camera.

Diploma of Screen and Media - Online Screenwriting


New York Film Academy Australia delivers an online, nationally recognised program CUA51020 - Diploma of Screen and Media with selected subjects focusing on Screenwriting.

New York Film Academy Australia recognises the critical role writers play in the creation of every film and television show. Yet, writing talent alone is not enough to create successful work in these mediums. Screenwriting is a learned craft, and a writer must write every day to train for the demands of this field, and to truly understand the elements that make a screenplay or teleplay functional, as well as engaging.

In addition to learning the conventions of the writing craft, students are given the support and structure to write and meet deadlines. Students write intensively throughout the course and complete several projects with the assistance of constructive critique from instructors, as well as peers.


From the comfort of your own home, students get the opportunity to work with industry professionals as they develop and nurture their screenwriting talents. The course schedule has been carefully crafted to ensure that students benefit from work-life-study balance.

Over the course of the program, each student will develop and write a feature-length screenplay, plus one television pilot script, along with the opportunity to workshop an additional treatment. As part of a fully integrated program, students explore related areas of screen production which enable them to apply their scripts to a professional context. In addition to writing classes, students study aspects of film craft, acting, pitching, and cinema studies, as they apply to screenwriting.

Upon completion of their studies, students will understand story structure, character, conflict and dialogue, and graduate the program with finished products that they can pitch and produce.

Students are assigned several writing projects which are subject to critique from trainers and peers during class workshops.

  1. In depth study of classic screenplay structure, character arcs, theme, conflict, flashbacks, voiceover, subtext, style, tone, visualisation, discipline, and genre.
  2. Standard conventions of writing for television
  3. Fundamentals of writing for the screen
  4. Professional screenwriting practice.
  5. Development of treatments, pitch materials, and scripts across various mediums.
  6. Fundamentals of screen production
  7. Edit texts and scripts.

  1. Write an outline for a feature-length film.
  2. Write a treatment for a feature-length film.
  3. Write a full draft script for a feature-length film
  4. Write outlines for television pilots
  5. Write a full draft script for a television pilot
  6. Write a TV Bible for a television series
  7. A short-written scene to be produced by NYFA Australia.

Program Requirements:
  1. Personal computer or laptop
  2. Cell phone with video camera
  3. Zoom software (free)
  4. Screenwriting software (free or professional - Final Draft highly recommended for screenwriters).
  5. Microsoft Office (Word, Excel and Powerpoint)
  6. Editing software: Da Vinci Resolve (Free Version)
  7. Internet browsing software (such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox)
  8. Access to stable, high-speed internet connection.

Minimum specifications for computers:
  1. Processor - Intel Core i7 or newer CPU
  2. Operating system - macOS v10.14.6 or later / Windows 10
  3. RAM - 16 GB of RAM
  4. GPU - 4 GB of GPU VRAM
  5. Hard disk space - 50GB of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space required during installation (will not install on a volume that uses a case sensitive file system or on removable flash storage devices).
  6. Additional external high-speed drive for media (min. 500 GB)
  7. Monitor resolution - 1920 X 1080 HD preferred
  8. Network Storage Connection - 1 Gigabit Ethernet (HD only)

Other Requirements:
  1. A workspace (a quiet safe space to work from, with a chair and desk or table)


Interested students are invited to complete the application form, with a personal statement, and attend a virtual interview to determine entrance to the program.

Course Descriptions

Term 1
Story Generation and Screenwriting Elements
Writing for Television I
Safety on Set

Term 3
Writing the Feature II
The Freelancer
Writing for Television II
Term 2
Cinema Studies
Writing the Feature I
Term 4
Writing the Feature III
Script to Screen

Story Generation and Screenwriting Elements

  CUAWRT401 Edit texts, CUARES412 Conduct Research
Story Generation and Screenwriting Elements introduces the students to the craft of storytelling and editing texts. Students will be engaged in the creative process of researching and developing story ideas and character profiles. They will learn the fundamentals of writing for the screen and gain insight into the creative process involved.
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Writing for Television I

  CUAPPR415 Develop and discuss ideas for own creative work
The subject, Writing for Television I, introduces the student to the fundamentals of screenwriting in the world of television drama. It is a fast-paced, intensive workshop program that allows the student to develop the knowledge and skills required to originate and develop a concept for television programs, and to develop their concept into story outlines and a television bible. Students engage regularly in workshops and discussions with peers to develop their concepts.
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Safety on Set

  CUAPPR515 Establish and maintain safe creative practice
The purpose of Safety on Set is to teach the film industry practitioner to determine work health and safety requirements in a given environment and occupation, identify hazards and assess and manage risks, and to monitor and enhance safety of their practice. Having sound practical knowledge of safety is paramount for film sets, sound stages, and for screenwriters who may work on computers for long periods of time.
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Cinema Studies

  BSBCMM411 Make presentations
Cinema Studies teaches students to identify the techniques used by cinematic innovators throughout the history of filmmaking. Through screenings and discussions, students will grow to understand how filmmakers have approached the great challenge of telling stories with moving images from silent films to the digital age. The course explores ways that the crafts of directing, screenwriting, cinematography, acting, and editing have developed. Students are then challenged to place themselves within that development with regard to their on-going film projects.
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Writing Feature I

  CUAWRT512 Develop storylines and treatments, CUAPPR411 Realise a creative project
Writing the Feature I introduces the student to the fundamentals of screenwriting for film. It incorporates fast-paced, intensive workshops that explore the fundamentals of screenwriting, in which students will be asked to develop, edit and present their feature film concepts.
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Writing the Feature II

  CUAWRT402 Write extended stories
Writing the Feature II builds upon knowledge gained in earlier terms, in which students plotted their feature film script. In this subject the students will further develop their feature film scripts and reappraise parts of it to intensively adjust the script’s narrative, plotting, character arcs, and characterisation to further develop their first and second acts.
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Writing for Television II

  CUAWRT415 Write narration and material for productions, CUAAIR411 Plan and Conduct interviews
Writing for Television II further develops the student’s fundamentals in screenwriting for television. It is a fast-paced, intensive workshop program that allows the student to develop the knowledge and skills required to develop their story outlines into first draft television scripts.
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The Freelancer

  CUAIND412 Provide freelance services
The purpose of The Freelancer is to teach students to learn how to work as a freelancer in the screenwriting industry, including how to promote themselves as a screenwriter and deal with the business aspects of being a freelance screenwriter.
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Writing the Feature III

  CUAWRT602 Edit Scripts, CUAIND512 Enhance professional practice using creative arts industry knowledge
Writing the Feature III builds upon the knowledge gained in earlier terms. Students complete Act three of their feature film script and edit their own scripts as well as other scripts. As part of this process, the student will also be asked to explore the broader context of the creative arts industry’s networks and professional bodies and to enhance their professional practice and industry knowledge, helping prepare them for the commercial realities of working as a professional screenwriter, which will involve pitching their own feature film script.
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Script to Screen

  CUAPOS511 Edit complex media productions, CUAAIR511 Conduct discussion forums on air
Script to Screen allows the screenwriting student to discuss the production process and experience post-production planning, and what happens to their scripts when they go into post production. The student will explore the skills and knowledge required to prepare for post-production, and digitally edit content to complete a project for viewing and evaluation. Students will engage in the creative process of using editing techniques to build character and story to progress the narrative, bringing their scripts to life and gaining experience of editing and all that that entails. NYFA Australia will shoot a scene from each student’s scripts, which students will edit.

In gaining an understanding of the planning and editing process, the student will be able to utilise these skills to inform and strengthen their own writing practice.
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